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The Global Church in 2020

Every year Christianity Today runs year-end lists of its top stories in several categories.

I’m pleased to have reported on 16 of 20 in international news. When including US domestic news coverage, my article on the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict finished No. 6 overall.

Here is the full list arranged chronologically, for your review:

Soleimani’s Death Doesn’t End Iran’s Influence on Middle East Christians

  • In Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon, can believers offer Shiites better support than the assassinated military leader?
  • Jayson Casper

13 Christian Takes on Trump’s Peace Plan for Israel and Palestine

  • Evangelicals in Middle East and US debate if “Deal of the Century” is “generous” or “extreme.”
  • Jayson Casper

Religious Freedom Comes to Europe’s Second-Newest Nation. But Christians Are Concerned.

  • Montenegro’s Orthodox and evangelicals debate if new religion law is a blessing or a church-stealing curse.
  • Jayson Casper

Nigeria’s Government Agrees: Islamist Terrorists Target Christians

  • The goal of Boko Haram and ISWAP is “to divide Christian brother against Muslim brother,” Buhari administration tells CT.
  • Jayson Casper

Spiritual Abuse Definition Debated by UK Christians

  • Cases of Steve Timmis and Jonathan Fletcher illustrate debate over at what point a pastor’s exhortation crosses the line into coercion.
  • Ken Chitwood

7 Lessons from Singapore’s Churches for When Coronavirus Reaches Yours

  • Advice from Christians in the “Antioch of Asia” on how your congregation can survive, and thrive, amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Edric Sng

Arab Christians Have Lost Easter Before. Here’s What They Learned.

  • Whether COVID-19 or ISIS, believers from Iraq, Syria, and Egypt know “neither plague nor persecution can snuff out the church of Christ.”
  • Jayson Casper

Surviving COVID-19 in Spain Changed My Faith

  • Six lessons for churches from the president of the Spanish Evangelical Alliance.
  • Marcos Zapata

GOD TV Dispute Has Israel Talking About Messianic Jews

  • Christian broadcaster’s expansion into Hebrew cable channel may be short-lived, but raises profile of followers of Yeshua.
  • The Associated Press and Jayson Casper

How ‘Way Maker’ Topped the US Worship Charts from Nigeria

  • Lagos worship leader Sinach penned the pandemic and protest anthem sung by Leeland and Michael W. Smith.
  • Megan Fowler

Refugee Converts Aren’t ‘Fraudsters,’ German Pastors Say

  • Churches push back on immigrant officials’ new skepticism of authentic faith.
  • Ken Chitwood

16 Beirut Ministries Respond to Lebanon Explosion

  • Evangelical leaders describe the damage, how Christians are helping, and the need for a hope beyond politics.
  • Jayson Casper in Beirut

Can ‘Abraham’ Bring Peace to the Middle East?

  • Christians in the Gulf hope historic UAE-Israel normalization might also lead to a deal with Palestinians.
  • Jayson Casper

Researchers Find Christians in Iran Approaching 1 Million

  • Secular survey may succeed where Christian advocates have failed to convince the world of widespread conversions in the Islamic republic.
  • Jayson Casper

Armenians Fight to Hold Ancient Homeland Within Azerbaijan

  • Is the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict a Christian-Muslim clash, or simply politics?
  • Jayson Casper

Biden Said ‘Inshallah.’ Many Arab Christians Do Too.

  • Arabic phrase invoked during presidential debate parallels James 4 and offers a window into how Christians and Muslims view God’s will.
  • Jayson Casper

Chinese Christians Deserve a Better Label Than ‘Persecuted’

  • Xi’s government isn’t friendly to religion. But its actions shouldn’t color how we think of believers there.
  • Brent Fulton

Turks and Armenians Reconcile in Christ. Can Azeris Join Them?

  • Confessing the genocide, Turkish evangelicals seek forgiveness on behalf of their nation. With ongoing war in Nagorno-Karabakh, is there a path forward also with Azerbaijan’s believers?
  • Jayson Casper

Will $335 Million Peace with Israel Secure Sudan’s Religious Freedom?

  • Sudanese religious leaders and American human rights experts examine the latest and symbolically powerful Arab normalization agreement with the Jewish state.
  • Jayson Casper

France’s Free Speech Makes Arab Christians Squirm

  • In conflict over Muhammad cartoons, French evangelicals rally behind their president’s defense of secularism. But brethren in the Middle East are torn.
  • Jayson Casper

Many thanks for a patient editor, and especially to willing sources. Like everyone else, we pray for better news in 2021.